AOTM: Neil Tengbumroong

Senior Neil Tengbumroong started tennis at the age of six and has earned titles internationally.

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AOTM: Neil Tengbumroong

Senior Neil Tengbumroong earned a National Doubles Title in Sacramento.

Senior Neil Tengbumroong earned a National Doubles Title in Sacramento.

Hannah Lee

Senior Neil Tengbumroong earned a National Doubles Title in Sacramento.

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Senior Neil Tengbumroong earned a National Doubles Title in Sacramento.

Amelie Lee, Asst. Feature Editor

For more than a decade, senior Neil Tengbumroong has been acing the game of tennis since finding his passion at the age of six. Playing in international tournaments and being chosen as San Gabriel Valley’s Player of the Year two years in a row, co-captain of the Diamond Bar High School varsity tennis team has established himself as one of the standout players in the area.

Tengbumroong began playing after observing people play tennis across the street after swimming.

“I did a lot of different sports when I was younger, but when I was swimming one day, there were two older guys playing tennis across the street and we decided to try it, and I got really into it from there,” Tengbumroong said.

Despite his initial interest, Tengbumroong took a while to improve at the sport, practicing as much as possible.  As he found his niche, the senior started to enjoy tennis  more and was motivated to work harder.

“I don’t know why I continued it back then. I was so much slower than everyone else. I think I had a 20-game losing streak, and I didn’t win a match for sixth months. My mom thought I was crazy for continuing to ask her to sign me up,” Tengbumroong said.

As his game improved, Tengbumroong finally found himself competing and winning in tournaments, including a National Doubles title after playing in Sacramento where he won as a freshman  against 31 other players selected in the nation. The senior also competed in the Easter Bowl at Indian Wells Tennis Garden and at an international tournament at the Stubhub Center in Carson.

“Playing for high school is completely different than playing outside of school, where there’s individual competition. Playing for school is a sense of school pride. I want to represent Diamond Bar to help our school win,” Tengbumroong said.

Tengbumroong plans to play at UC San Diego on their Division I tennis team next school year.  

Through every step of the way, Tengbumroong has looked up to his mom for support and encouragement.

“As cliche as it sounds, my mom helped me a lot. She was the one who kept signing me up, even though I was losing really badly, she kept encouraging me to keep going” Tengbumroong said. “She still loves to come out and see me and watch my matches.”

Tengbumroong continues to do well this season, remaining undefeated and states that he values all the new players on the team. Despite playing for so long, Tengbumroong still works on planning and strategies during the game.

“It’s a lot like chess. While it’s tough physically, there’s a lot of strategy involved that I think people aren’t really aware of. You have to plan ahead to win.”

While bringing talent to the school’s tennis team, Tengbumroong has also brought a positive attitude that has earned the respect of his peers and coach, Carl Flint.

“Neil has contributed more to this team than anyone I’ve seen. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached, but he’s very selfless .., and yet for someone with that kind of talent, he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. He’s a humble player, and that’s not that common.” Coach Flint said.